Gary Paulsen, Writer of YA Hatchet Novels, Dies at 82

Author and wilderness advocate Gary Paulsen, best known for writing young adult literature including the Hatchet novel series, has passed away. Publisher's Weekly brings word of Paulsen's death, revealing that he died in the morning of Wednesday, October 13, Paulsen was 82. In a tweet, they wrote: "Three-time Newbery Honor author Gary Paulsen, known for his wilderness adventure novels for children such as 'Hatchet,' died this morning at age 82." No further details about Paulsen's death were announced. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, and three children, Michael Paulsen, Paulette Paulsen, and Bill Paulsen.

Best known for featuring nature, wilderness, survival training, and coming of age-style narratives within his stories, Paulsen's 1986 Newbery Medal winning book Hatchet quickly became a favorite for young readers and remains a staple in that category. Its success would spawn a series, known as Brian's saga, which would see four more novels be published within it including The River in 1991, Brian's Winter in 1996, Brian's Return in 1999 and Brian's Hunt in 2003.

"Hatchet is a wonderful mystery to me," Paulsen previously said in an interview with BTSB about the series. "I liked writing Hatchet because it felt real to me, everything that happened to Brian, in some form or another, had happened to me and I think that made Brian's experience seem as if the readers were alongside him as they were reading."

Regarding the sequels, he added, "The readers dared me to write it ('Oh sure, Brian toughed it out in the summertime; you got him out of there before winter came and things really got tough')....Sequels should be as good if not better than the original; I'm not sure if I achieved that, but I tried, I had a good time writing the four sequels, and I think the readers like Brian's whole story-at least I hope they do."

Though the Hatchet books are among his most well known that are just one of several series that Paulsen regularly wrote. Others included The Tucket Adventures, recounting the story of a young man on the Oregon Trail and other historical moments; Culpepper Adventures, a mystery series following two young boys in the modern era; The World of Adventure series, individual books that focused on various survival and adventure scenarios; and more.

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Paulsen also wrote several autobiographical books including Woodsong, My Life in Dog Years, and Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books.